Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Relativity and Gerontology

Albert Einstein (photo: Orren Jack Turner)
According to Special Relativity time slows down as you reach the speed of light. Hence a person traveling to a distant galaxy in an advanced spaceship that approaches 186,000 miles per second will age more slowly than his counterpart back on earth. The potential traveler may face a quandary before he or she embarks on their prospective voyage. They will, in effect, outlive those who haven’t taken the trip and also when they come back, they will find that literally nothing is likely to be the same. It’s a quality of life issue. The problem for the person traveling at speeds at or near the speed of light epitomizes something which is felt more keenly by average people who reap the advances of medical science. Sure it’s nice that one’s life can be prolonged, but you may end up feeling like an alien. Beyond this there’s an even more profound question about the nature of the life one's living. Yes, the organs, including the brain can be kept functioning, in the absence of any pernicious diseases, but to what end? The body is reduced to an eating and excreting machine. It’s capable of existence, but no much else. Longevity may result in little more than unwanted solitude. You have outlived your world, but to what end?

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